Treating for Health and Moving To Wellness

David Escamilla and AACI Health Center

“AACI looked out for me. It’s hard to think about this, but without AACI, maybe I wouldn’t be here today.”  --- David Escamilla

When his nose started to bleed uncontrollably one night in 2011, David Escamilla panicked. He didn’t have any health insurance and had not seen a doctor in 15 years. When the bleeding didn’t stop, he had no choice but to rush to Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center (VMC). At their emergency room, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and sent home with the directive to get treated by a primary care doctor.

David luckily qualified for the sliding scale fee program, easing the cost of care. But with all the doctors at VMC booked, he worried about how he would find treatment. He was told about AACI Health Center, just a short walk away. There, David was welcomed by Dr. John Tso, who he felt was patient and who would answer his questions. Knowing that David had not seen a doctor in 15 years, Dr. Tso provided a thorough workup.

While David’s blood pressure was fine, Dr. Tso noticed that his Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) level was slightly elevated and suggested a prostate biopsy. Though he was not entirely sure what this meant, David trusted Dr. Tso and went to get his biopsy. When his results came back, they indicated signs of cancer. “After hearing that, the room started spinning. It felt really surreal. I didn’t feel sick at the time,” David said.

David had two options: to have surgery or to undergo radiation treatment. He had six months to make a decision. With a teenage son depending on him, David knew he had to make the right choice. “I took the whole six months to decide because I was really scared,” David said. “I visited AACI many times and Dr. Tso advised me to go with radiation.” His close relationship with Dr. Tso helped him have confidence in his decision.

Throughout the exhausting radiation process--treatment every day for eight weeks--David kept a positive attitude. His doctor and medical assistant cheered him on. After finishing treatment, David learned that his PSA level was back to normal. “When I went to check the results, it was nerve wracking. I felt relieved when I heard everything was fine,” he said.

David now closely monitors his PSA levels, returning for regular visits with his new doctor, Dr. Wong, another physician at AACI that he has come to trust. “I always feel welcome and that I have a family at AACI. I have known some of the staff for more than four years. Helen, a medical assistant here was such a nice girl when I was sick,” said David.

David no longer takes his health for granted. After this experience and with the help of his medical team at AACI, he focuses on how to care for wellness, not just how to treat for illness. “My doctor has been teaching me how to eat healthy. I would recommend AACI services to anyone!” he said.

Today, with his health back, David spends his days with his son, Alejandro, enjoys rounds of golf, and roots for the San Francisco Giants.

Go Giants! And go David!


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